UNI pulls out close series with Evansville, winning 3-2

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The UNI volleyball team faced the Evansville Purple Aces on Saturday, Nov. 13, in their last road game of the regular season. The Panthers entered the game with a 6-9 record in conference play and an 11-17 record overall. Evansville entered the game with an 8-7 record in conference play and an 18-8 record overall.

  After an early tie at 3-3 in the first set, Evansville pulled away and led by as many as six. UNI battled back and tied the score at 23-23, but Evansville scored the two points they needed for a 25-23 win to go up 1-0 in the series. The second set also saw Evansville lead early, but UNI’s comeback did not come up short this time. When the Purple Aces were up 13-10, UNI went on a 4-0 run to go ahead. After Evansville tied the score up at 20, UNI went on a 5-1 run to win the set 25-21 and tie the series 1-1.

  After UNI got down 1-0, they pulled ahead and never trailed in the rest of set three. Evansville did tie up the game at 21, but UNI went on a 4-0 run to win the set 25-21 and take a 2-1 lead in the series. Set four was the longest set. The Panthers took a 24-19 lead, but could not put the Purple Aces away, who scored on five straight match points to tie the set up at 24. Both sides had opportunities to win the game, but Evansville ultimately won the set 35-33 to tie the series up 2-2.

  The final set saw Evansville get the first chance with a match point at 14-13. However, UNI tied the game at 14. Another Evansville match point was matched by UNI, and UNI pulled out a 19-17 win to win the set and series 3-2.

  UNI reached season highs in kills and assists with 82 kills and 70 assists. Four players reached double digits in kills, led by Kira Fallert, who got 25 of those kills for a career high. Taylor Alden picked up a double-double with 15 kills and 31 assists. The other two players to reach double digits in kills were Emily Holterhaus with 14 and Carly Spies with 11. Payton Ahrenstorff reached a career high in digs with 23 to lead the Panthers.

  UNI finishes the regular season at home against Valparaiso and Loyola-Chicago on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20.